If you are about to give birth, I suggest you DON’T see this film. Marlo (Charlize Theron) is about to give birth to her third child. Already coping with a special needs son, Jonah (Asher Miles Fallica)and an 8-year-old daughter, Sarah (Lia Frankland), Marlo is already exhausted. Because she’ s had a breakdown in the past, Marlo’s wealthy brother, Craig (Mark Duplass) sets up a night nanny to help her for a month. Wanting to be independent, Marlo declines his offer.
There’s a wonderful montage of Marlo getting up night after night, feeding the new born, changing the baby, lights on, lights off. Finally near breaking point, the exhausted Marlo phones for the nanny.
Enter hippy 26-year-old Tully (Mackenzie Davis). This wonderful nanny seemingly solves all Marlo’s problems, including being too exhausted to have sex with her husband, Drew (Ron Livingston). Tully helps with the whole family, not just the baby; making cup cakes for one child’s class and cleaning and sorting out the kitchen to ease Marlo’s work load.
Written by Diablo Cody – who wrote the award winning Juno – there are some very amusing exchanges of dialogue. There are also quite moving moving scenes (at least as far as those of us who remember the early days after giving birth) where we see Marlo, a hair’s breath away from suffering from post-natal depression. One well-directed scene has Marlo completely losing her cool as she confronts the Principal who wants her son Jonah (who has behavioral problems) to leave the school. While the Principal wraps her words in polite expressions, Marlo gets straight to the point and confronts the Principal in a most down-to-earth manner.
Unfortunately the end of the film goes off on a somewhat weird tangent.
But the performances are very true and all the characters have depth. Tully is played with a bright-eyed bounce by Mackenzie Davis while Charlize Theron’s Marlo looks like how she feels: a drab, breast-leaking, over-weight mother of a new-born with two other children to cope with.
For the performances, the writing and direction, which captures the honesty of the situation, do go and see Tully.